Only A Fool

by The Mighty Sparrow

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about

Spoiler alert: NO CALYPSO! This album reflects another side—actually several SIDES—of the Mighty Sparrow.

ONLY A FOOL is a collection of pop classics, many ballads, and touches of funk and disco. There are no Sparrow originals (although the album producer, Mark Arthurworrey, composed "I Just Wanna Be Free"). This album was an artistically successful mid-career attempt in 1978 to broaden Sparrow's market, though its commercial success was limited. Despite sporadic releases highlighting Sparrow's stylistic versatility (check out the 1963 release SPARROW SINGS FOR LOVERS and 1975's SPARROW DRAGON AGAIN), Slinger Francisco had difficulty establishing himself as a crossover artist. This album demonstrates why his aspirations were justified, and why he deserved a wider audience.

Sparrow is in excellent vocal form on ONLY A FOOL. Whether covering hits by Sinatra, Gilbert O'Sullivan, or the Drifters, he sings these songs with conviction—the delivery comes from the heart. The musical arrangements are radically different from the original versions. Sparrow even covers the Bee Gees ("To Love Somebody," from their 1967 debut album) and Jimi Hendrix ("Angel"). Neither of these covers were attempts to follow prevailing musical fashion. Both were a decade old (and the Bee Gees were by then deep in disco) when Sparrow decided to reinvent these gems.

Sparrow had previously recorded "Save the Last Dance for Me" in 1963, "El Reloj" around the same time, "Only a Fool" (in 1969) and "Let Me Try Again" (in 1975), the latter two with Byron Lee and His Dragonaires. The versions on this album are different. Sparrow reprised these tunes because they meant a lot to him.

Bear in mind that despite growing up with calypso music and Caribbean culture, Sparrow's musical curiosity made him an explorer. He admired Sinatra and was captivated by the vocal stylings of Nat "King" Cole and Brook Benton. These legendary voices (and others) inspired Sparrow.

Sparrow is often categorized as a "World Music" artist. As regards his legacy, the classification "World" is, ironically, too small.

credits

released January 5, 2020

Recorded in 1978
Produced by Mark Arthurworrey
Arranged by Bill Connor
Recorded at Freerange Studios
Orchestrations recorded at Vineyard Studios
Recording engineers: Eric (Rico) Micaud, Frank Filipetti, Hugo Dwyer

Composers (many misidentified on the original 1978 LP):

"Endlessly" by Clyde Otis-Brook Benton
"Let It Be Me" by Gilbert Bécaud-Manny Curtis-Pierre Delanoë
"El Reloj" by Roberto Cantoral
"To Love Somebody" by Barry and Robin Gibb
"Let Me Try Again" by Sammy Cahn-Paul Anka-Michel Jourdon
"Save the Last Dance for Me" by Doc Pomus-Mort Shuman
"Angel" by Jimi Hendrix
"I Just Wanna be Free" by Mark Arthurworrey
"Alone Again Naturally" by Gilbert O'Sullivan
"Only a Fool Breaks His Own Heart" by Shelly Coburn-Norman Bergen

Erasmus Black Records
Issued under exclusive license from Slinger Francisco (The Mighty Sparrow)

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The Mighty Sparrow Trinidad and Tobago

He's not the Elvis of Calypso. He's not the Sinatra of Calypso. He's not the Beatles, Dylan, James Brown, or Brian Wilson of Calypso. He's the MIGHTY SPARROW. Often categorized as "World Music," for Sparrow the classification "World" is simply too small. We're working with Slinger Francisco (Sparrow) to preserve his recorded legacy. All releases digitally restored from best available sources. ... more

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